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State v. Njango

New Jersey Supreme Court

August 3, 2021

The New Jersey Supreme Court addressed the issue of time credit where a defendant served time in custody beyond his release date. Njango served a lengthy NERA sentence with a parole-supervision tail under a plea agreement but was kept in custody for an extra year beyond his maximum release date. Njango filed a PCR petition to have the period of parole supervision reduced by the excess time he served in prison or to withdraw his plea. The PCR court denied the petition, and the Appellate Division affirmed. The Supreme Court ruled that the State kept Njango in prison for more than a year beyond his release date. The Court held that without credit for the excess prison time, Njango would serve more time in the custody of the Department of Corrections than authorized by his sentence. Therefore, under the fundamental fairness doctrine — an integral part of the due process guarantee of the New Jersey Constitution — the excess time Njango erroneously served in prison must be credited to reduce the period of his parole supervision.

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